Think sugar is the cause of the obesity epidemic? Think again!

If you think sugar is the main reason people get fat, consider this:

Over the last 15-20 years (since it has become common to demonize sugar), the consumption of sugar in the U.S. has actually declined significantly.

However, the incidence of obesity is STILL increasing, as sugar consumption is decreasing.

That’s a bit odd, right?

But perhaps you might argue that sugar was the initial cause (since sugar consumption was increasing during the initial phase of the obesity epidemic) and thus is still a major factor.

Consider the phenomenon known as the Australian Paradox…

What is the Australian Paradox?

It’s the phenomenon that sugar consumption has actually DECREASED during the entire span of the obesity epidemic in Australia.

Here’s a couple of quotes from the research on the subject (Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257688/)

“The Australian Paradox: A Substantial Decline in Sugars Intake over the Same Timeframe that Overweight and Obesity Have Increased”

“The findings confirm an “Australian Paradox”–a substantial decline in refined sugars intake over the same timeframe that obesity has increased.

It is possible that less emphasis has been given to disseminating the message of lowering total energy intake, while avoidance of particular nutrients, such as sugars, has been the primary focus… Interestingly, research by WHO found that the Australian energy supply has increased almost exclusively as a result of an increase in intake of fat [32]. … Logic tells us that an inappropriately high intake of any energy source (alcohol, fat, protein, starch or sugar) will result in weight gain.

Indeed, a literal interpretation of our findings would suggest that reductions in sugar intake may have contributed to the rise in obesity. Lowering the sugar content of foods may be counterproductive for weight management if there is replacement of sugars with refined or high glycemic index starches, saturated fats or alcohol.”

The bottom line here is that obesity epidemics (or to make it more personal, whether YOU gain fat) does NOT depend on sugar. It can occur with an increase in EITHER sugar or fat consumption. As is outlined in this review of the scientific literature HERE, the science shows that sugar and fat are roughly equal potent stimulators of fat gain.

Sugar can most certainly be a contributing factor to fat gain (and is a contributing factor in many obesity epidemics around the world). But the causes of fat gain go way beyond just “sugar is making us fat.” As you’ve seen, obesity epidemics can happen even when sugar intake is declining, as a result of increased fat intake.

The bottom line is that you can’t just address one factor and expect to get results. Lasting fat loss requires a comprehensive approach to improving your lifestyle factors–not just blaming a single food group (i.e. sugar or fat), and then eliminating that one food group.

 

 

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